MILAN - Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri could not explain his side's patchy display after their Serie A title ambitions were almost extinguished by a 3-3 home draw with Chievo on Sunday. Inter Milan later extended their lead over second-placed Juve to nine points with eight games left thanks to a 1-0 win at Udinese, where Mauricio Isla scored a second-half own goal. Juve can have no complaints, however, after twice drawing level only to let hat-trick hero Sergio Pellissier head in a stoppage-time equaliser. "Today's Juventus was a bit like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," Ranieri told reporters. "Chievo were very well organised and created problems for us on the counter-attack. It took us a long time to get into the match and after we did we created a great number of chances." Italy and Sweden defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Olof Mellberg, on duty for their countries in the last week, were at fault for Pellissier's first two goals. But forward Alessandro Del Piero, no longer involved with the Azzurri, could not use tiredness as an excuse for his poor performance. Ranieri, who brought him off at halftime, added: "We were coming from five consecutive victories and we hoped to continue with the same pace after the international break. It was not possible but football is like that." Inter, without the injured Maicon and with Adriano still in Brazil dealing with personal problems, were lucky to win but man-of-the-match Cristian Chivu said their nervous display was not because of Juve's draw. "Honestly we didn't think about their result with Chievo. It's them that have to worry about our results," he told Sky TV.
5 April 2009
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